Blending Snowboarding And Surfing
By Forrest Shearer | September 21st, 2011
September 9, 2011
For snowboarders, summer and fall represent the off-season, a time to hit the skate park or surf the ocean.
My home base is in Salt Lake City, Utah, where there’s not very much surfing. So this summer, I took a break from the mountain lifestyle and spent some time in Leucadia, Calif., choosing to hit the ocean.
Snowboarding and surfing have a strong connection. They both share this effortless glide. Snowboarding in powder is the best feeling ever. And when I’m floating through snow, it’s as if I’m surfing.
Working with Jones Snowboards, we are always discussing board designs and testing new shapes and construction methods to take our riding to the next level. This summer, I’ve been on a similar progression with my surfing. I grew up surfing in Southern California and moved to the mountains to pursue snowboarding. My surfing roots are still really important and play a big role in my snowboarding.
Lately, I’ve been obsessed with trying to surf on boards with no fins. I've been trying out a bunch of different boards to recreate the snowboard feeling on water. Bringing snowboarding to the ocean…
Some of the boards I've tried are Alaia’s and this piece of foam called a Lord Board. An Alaia is a finless, thin plank of wood based on boards surfed by Hawaiians for thousands of years. They go so fast and get the most glide out of any surfboard I’ve ever ridden. Some of the most recent Alaia’s have been made famous by the Wegener brothers — Tom and Jon Wegener.
The Lord Board is a wide, unglassed, finless block of closed-cell foam ridden by Ryan Burch and friends in the famous surf film "Stoked And Broke" (all-time rad movie). This piece of foam is cool because it flexes, goes fast and with its size, it has a surf-skate style. The Lord Board can turn any surf session into a wild one.
As a summer project I decided to shape an Alaia with the help of Jon Wegener. Starting from a primitive piece of Paulownia wood glued together to form a blank, we cut out a template of a shape I wanted.
I chose a progressive shape featuring a parabolic outline with a concave bottom and a swallow tail. This shape rides much like a snowboard — like carving in powder. The length ended up being 6′8″ in size.
Next step was to take a electric planner and wood carving tools and shave the Alaia down to the exact thickness I wanted on the deck, bottom and rails. For this part, I took the board home, set up shop in the backyard and let loose. It was a complete organic feeling working on the board. I took my time on it, worked with the wood and let my creation come to life.
The wood chips that came off the board were recycled and added to the compost for the garden. Finally, I sealed the board with a few coats of linseed oil and it was ready to ride.
Looking back on the shaping process, I see a similar movement with snowboarding and surfing as people are becoming more aware of their connection to nature. Without wild mountains, fresh powder and clean oceans, we can’t do the things we love. We are embracing change with our methods of construction and thinking outside the box of conformity. I’m excited to see what the future holds.
Forrest Shearer's surfy POV footage from Haines, Alaska:
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